A female spirit in Malay folklore which feeds on human blood, particularly that of women giving birth. She waits for her victims, usually men, along a lonely road or at the edge of the jungle in the form of a beautiful woman. Any man foolish enough to approach her would be killed and devoured by her.
If a woman gave birth in a stilt house, if was possible that blood would drip through the floorboards down to the ground. If that happened, the man of the house would cover the ground with thorns to prevent a pontianak from drinking the blood. It was believed that a pontianak could only drink blood in her original form, which was that of an ugly human face with disheveled hair and protruding intestines but without a body. When she flew, the intestines would trail behind her like the tails of a kite. If the ground where the blood fell was covered with thorns, she would not dare to drink it for fear that the thorns would prick her intestines.
- Zahir, M. (2000). The Legends of Langkawi. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn Bhd.